Survey shows Gen Z/Millennial mental health impacted most by pandemic

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Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 11:29 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:10 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Survey data from a recent CVS Health-Harris Poll National Health Project shows the well-being of young people is most likely to be impacted by the pandemic. However, younger Americans are also the most likely to seek help.

“Poll results show that 41% of Gen Z/young millennials, which are individuals who are pre-teen aged up to their early 20s, are currently dealing with anxiety and depression, compared to 15% of Boomers. However, the study shows Gen Z/young millennials are more likely to turn to their local pharmacists for mental well-being support services,” Cara McNulty, DPA, President, Behavioral Health and Mental Wellbeing for CVS Health said.

Within the past few years, counselor and co-owner of Bridge Therapeutic Services Erin Young has recognized a shift in the stigma around mental health.

“There’s not the shame in the way that therapy used to be looked at, it’s kind of looked at differently,” Young said.

East Texas University UT Tyler is also recognizing the change.

UT Tyler Associate Dean of Students Kim Livingston-Cobb is a UT Tyler alumna herself. When she was a student, seeking mental health help looked different.

“There were students that were very worried about, you know, will anybody find out?” Livingston-Cobb said. “But now, we see students that are like ‘hey that’s my counselor’ or they’re saying ‘hey my therapist told me this or that,’ so they do seem much more open to counseling.”

UT Tyler senior Arianna Bowlin is a nursing student who is also roommates with a psychology major.

“My friends and the people that I surround with, they’re very open to going to therapy. Everyone knows how beneficial therapy is these days,” Bowlin said.

One of her first nursing classes was a well-being class. “You need to take care of your mind before you can even try to take care of other people,” a professor told Bowlin.

“This age group is already going through major changes physically, emotionally and mentally given the impact of the pandemic coupled with their everyday life experiences. At the same time, this is the age when they are beginning to break away from their parents and they’re looking to increase time with friends, some of whom they may soon be separated from when many students will go off to college; so there’s anxiety and stress about getting acclimated to college life and making new friends. The poll results show that Gen Z/young millennials are more likely to seek professional help, which is a good thing, because we see they’re willing to have that open dialogue about their mental well being,” Cara McNulty, DPA, President, Behavioral Health and Mental Wellbeing, CVS Health said.

Bowlin said she recognized how common it is to seek help, especially coping with the hardships of the pandemic.

“Just because of what has gone on throughout our lives so far.”

She say help is becoming more accessible.

“CVS Health is making mental well-being services more accessible, less complicated, more convenient and more inviting. When patients visit MinuteClinic for their routine health care needs, our providers are able to screen for and diagnose depression, and when clinically appropriate, prescribe medication. Additionally, we’ve worked with the Trevor Project to improve mental health specifically for LGBTQ youth, and we’re also working with the Jed Foundation which is focused on suicide prevention in college-age students,” McNulty said.

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